We believe diversity, equity, and inclusion is integral to the study of English because:
➢ Exposing students to diverse perspectives, as well as information about the historical disenfranchisement and oppression of minority groups, is part of the revisionist work of racial justice.
➢ Traditionally underrepresented writers, views, and voices are essential to the study of language, literacy, and literature because discrimination and bias relies on a history that has hidden these voices and views.
➢ Language is deeply attached to identity.
➢ Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential components of being human; engaging diversity and practicing equity and inclusion helps develop empathy with different people and perspectives
➢ Students have the opportunity to make better individual and collective choices when they have a deeper understanding of how power, privilege, and exclusion have operated and continue to operate.
➢ Greater awareness of racial and social injustice helps students become prepared to speak/stand up in the face of it. Understanding the realities of injustice/inequity equips students to engage and confront it in the future.
As a department, we commit to the following:
➢ We will teach students about the connections between language and identity, and the rich language resources that diversity brings. We understand that language can empower as well as control, denigrate, and/or police. As experts in language, we will help students understand how language is tied to identity, and also how to use language to describe identity in acceptable ways.
➢ We will select, analyze, and cite texts and topics that are inclusive and promote equity and social justice in our research and teaching. We will promote deeper analysis about why including underrepresented voices are necessary.
➢ We will interrogate public-facing department communications, curricular offerings, course materials, and assessment practices at the programmatic level for opportunities to integrate anti-racist and inclusive language and practices, and we will eliminate language that sustains oppression.
➢ We will question our default assumptions about student ability, motivation, and performance.
➢ We will offer presentations and professional development opportunities centered around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
➢ We will pay attention to and raise awareness of issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in committee and department meetings. We will identify short- and long-term goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion in committee and program work.
➢ We will recruit, hire, retain, and support faculty and students who identify as part of an underrepresented group.